Did Saturn Move Up Market too Fast?

Jerry Flint from Forbes: Saturn probably had the latest and best lineup of any GM brand: two well-done SUVs, the Outlook and the Vue, the handsome Aura sedan, a sister of the Chevy Malibu, the European built-small Astra car, and even a two-seat sports car, the Sky. But sales went nowhere. GM had said it will kill the brand, but now hopes to sell the name to Roger Penske. Why did Saturn fail despite a decent product lineup? I would say because they went "upscale." Saturn was created as a low-priced line, below Chevrolet, to take on lower-priced imports. That new lineup was good, but its prices were higher - $20,000 for the small car, $25,000 to $35,000 for the others. There's nothing wrong with moving up-market; lots of companies do this. But it takes time to build a new customer base, maybe a decade. People who paid $15,000 for the last Saturn will have trouble trading up for a $35,000 model. GM gave up on Saturn after two years.

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Modified Astra to be Unveiled at SEMA

General Motors announced yesterday that Saturn will unveil a modified Astra at the 2007 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show next week. Marking the introduction of the all-new Astra sport-compact, Saturn will show off a tuner-inspired example that uses subtle exterior and chassis mods, as well as unique wheels, to give the car a street-wise stance.